Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Female Testosterone Therapy Leaves Much to Be Desired

Loyola Sex Therapist Warns Against Testosterone Use in Women

MAYWOOD - Testosterone therapy may not be the magic bullet women with low libidos are hoping for, according to seasoned sex therapist Domeena Renshaw, MD.

"Female sexual dysfunction is being treated as a medical problem with a quick fix, when in fact women's libido issues may be more complicated," said Renshaw, author, Seven Weeks to Better Sex, director, Loyola University Health System Sex Clinic and professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Female sexual dysfunction is a subjective diagnosis that might be caused by a number of things, including emotional issues, underlying health problems and medication, such as antidepressants.

The proper level of testosterone in women is between 40 - 75 ng. These levels can naturally decrease after menopause. However, Renshaw warns that there is no such thing as a small dose of testosterone and cautions women against taking testosterone therapy.

"I am not comfortable prescribing testosterone therapy to my female patients, because the long-term side effects have not been studied," said Renshaw. "Testosterone therapy may increase the risk of heart disease as well as cause excess facial hair, acne and deepening of the voice."

Currently, there are no FDA-approved products to treat sexual dysfunction in women. Tips to improve female sexual function include counseling and increased communication with your spouse about sexual or any other issues that may be causing marital stress. Additional recommendations are experimentation or changes in sexual routine, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

"The most important advice that I give couples is to turn off the television, unplug the phone and have a conversation to reconnect with one another," said Renshaw.

Since its inception in 1972, Loyola's Sex Clinic in Loyola Outpatient Center has treated approximately 3,000 married couples and has trained more than 3,000 professionals. Married couples with sexual problems are provided seven weeks of couples counseling by a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals, including specialists in psychiatry, psychology, gynecology, urology, family medicine, nursing and social work. Single patients also are counseled individually or in a six-week all-female or all-male, small-group setting.

To schedule an appointment with a Loyola physician, call toll-free (888) LUHS-888 and ask for extension 6-3752.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.